The medical application of 3D printing is one of the most uplifting aspects of this technology. And 3D printing has proven to be life-altering for physicians, who seek the optimal conditions under which to perform surgeries, and patients, who seek the clearest and easiest path to full recovery. 3D printed surgery just got a big boost from this latest news from Malaysia of the country’s first successful facial implant using 3D printing technology.
Dr. Mohd Nazimi Abd Jabr, of the UKM Medical Center, received the patient, Sharifah, who had been in a bad accident with her body broken in seven different areas. One effect of the accident is that Sharifah lost left eye vision, and her frontal bone and the upper part of the left orbital rim had significant deformity that caused her severe headaches. Dr. Nazimi began to research his options for Sharifah’s surgery to fix this deformity, and he was drawn to OBL, Materialise’s daughter company that focuses on cranio-maxillofacial procedures.
“When I first began looking for solutions to get Sharifah back to her normal routine, I was impressed by OBL’s willingness to truly work with me,” Dr. Nazimi explained. ‘Their clinical engineers provided valuable input so that we could plan this complex surgery together, with the software to really plan the procedure in advance and test out different approaches. All these were discussed via video conference sessions. OBL then provided us with custom-made implants to fit Sharifah’s unique anatomy. This made the case drastically easier than it would be otherwise.”
Turning to modern technology, instead of traditional methods, is uncommon in Malaysia, rendering Dr. Nazimi a pioneer of sort in his home country when it comes to the consideration of 3D printed medical options. Both surgical planning and custom implants are possible with Materialise’s OBL, and of course, any time we are dealing with physical reconstruction, more precision works better because customization offers the best fit.
This technology allow physicians to simulate surgeries in 3D and make a surgical plan, and 3D print anatomical models, surgical guides for patients, and custom implants. Dr. Nazimi has done all of that, and he now holds a distinguished place as the first surgeon to perform a facial implant in the country of Malaysia. This is no doubt due to efforts to spread 3D printing education and technology all over the world instead of keeping it in advanced industrial countries with economies that support this kind of technology. Dr. Nazimi was assisted during surgery by Dr. Syed Nabil, a maxillofacial colleague; Dr. Fadzlina, UKMMC Maxillofacial Prosthodontist, supplied the left eye prosthesis.
Procedures like the ones performed by Dr. Nazimi on Sharifah are on the cutting edge of not only medical advancement, but 3D printed medical applications. Dr. Nazimi has a bright medical future ahead of him, as he embraces the technology of tomorrow by applying it today, pioneering 3D printing for surgical procedures in a country that may become more open to the technology as time goes on.
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